My first campaign was in 1986, and I was the press secretary for a congressional candidate. I was green and cocky. I was wiser and humbler after we lost.
I next joined an Austin-based political consulting firm, Emory, Young & Associates. We were a general consulting firm that provided general strategy, polling, phone banks, get-out-the-vote programs, PR and opposition research.
I was brought in for the last two services. By 1990, my work had evolved into direct mail. Later, I became a third partner in the firm. If you care about awards (I don’t), my mail won four Pollie Awards from the American Association of Political Consultants.
By working in a general consulting firm, I quickly discovered my strengths. Campaign organizing and fieldwork were certainly not among them.
Democrats had more power and support back then, so we won a lot of big races and lost a few heartbreakers. The big wins were for Ann Richards, John Sharp, and several legislators, judges and local elected officials. We got work in other states, including Arizona, California, Mississippi and Nevada.
But by 2000, do-it-all consulting firms were going the way of dinosaur. It was time to move on and create my own direct mail firm. That’s what I’ve done ever since.